A couple weeks ago, my family and I saw a local news story about the successful water rescue of a family in Kanis Park by the Little Rock Fire Department. As the news story ended, my five year old son said “when you call 911, they come real fast.” I felt horribly conflicted. On the one hand I was overjoyed to hear that a family of 3 had been saved and I wanted to reassure my son that calls to 911 always bring timely help. But on the other hand, I knew that a 911 call about a different water rescue from several years earlier didn’t produce an appropriate response and ended in great tragedy.
Over the last three years, I’ve helped represent Dayong Yang and the estates of his late wife, Jinglei Yi, and his late son, Le Yang, who drowned due to a delayed 911 response. While working on their cases, I’ve often thought “was the delayed response an isolated event?” “Could the delayed response happen again?” Unfortunately, the answer I found in an October 2015 consultant’s report prepared for the City of Little Rock was that “[t]he lack of staff appears to be affecting the ability of [Little Rock 911] to provide comprehensive training, answer all calls in a timely manner and provide the required support to field personnel from the dispatch perspective.”
I’m curious to know whether others in Little Rock have experienced delays in having their 911 calls answered and delays in 911 responses.
Here’s the link to the story of the successful 2016 water rescue: https://katv.com/news/local/firefighter-relives-first-water-rescue-as-guardian-angels-save-3-from-flood-waters.
Here’s a link to a story on the drowning of Jinglei Yi and Le Yang: https://archive.thv11.com/news/article/243379/2/LR-Water-Accident-Dad-remembers-wife-son-fights-for-life.